Fine Gael must commit to higher standards and not be reliant on high-profile developers for hand-outs, a backbench TD claimed today.
In a stinging attack Lucinda Creighton said there can be no room in the party for “cute-hoor” politics, insisting they had to be more than simply “Fianna Fáil light” if they get into Government.
Alluding to reports that an indebted property company tied up with bad bank Nama sponsored a golf classic run by Fine Gael, Ms Creighton told the MacGill Summer School in Donegal voters expected more from the party.
“That means there can be no room in Fine Gael for the cute-hoor politics,” the Dublin South East TD said.
“These are the politics which have defined and tainted Irish public life like an incurable cancer. We cannot be satisfied with low standards in high places. Fine Gael in government must be much more than simply 'Fianna Fáil light'.
“We cannot, on the one hand, condemn Fianna Fáil for entertaining developers in the Galway tent, while on the other hand extend the biscuit tin for contributions from high profile developers, who are beholden to Nama.”
The remarks come just days after a report that Michael O’Flynn, of O’Flynn Construction which transferred debts to Nama, took part in a golf fundraiser organised by Fine Gael at the K Club.
Ms Creighton‘s stance casts new light on tensions within the party almost a month after leader Enda Kenny unveiled his new Cabinet after a failed heave against him by rebel front-bench TDs.
Although not on the front bench, Ms Creighton had expressed criticisms of the party‘s leadership.
The Dublin deputy said the country needed a new politics of substance rather than soundbites.
“We need a politics that is about serving the people of Ireland, and not simply about replacing Fianna Fáil. It is time for a politics built on courage, integrity and truth,” she said.
Mr Kenny said he did not want to comment on the address. He said: “I don’t think it’s fair to ask me to comment on a speech I haven’t read. So when I do read it I will comment on it.”
The party leader said Fine Gael’s activities were legitimate and within the law.
On the political system as a whole Ms Creighton said there was an apathy among politicians.
“The lack of ambition amongst all political parties, as well as their studious dodging of courageous political positions leaves me cold,” she said.
The deputy said the ambition for most members was to conform with the party line.
“For politicians with no scruples, no values and no backbone, a political party is a wonderful hiding place. It is rare that such a person will ever be exposed. They will never have to defend their position or stand over their convictions,” she said.
“Indeed they generally have no positions or convictions apart from a ’win my seat at all costs’ mentality. They enjoy being shielded by the ubiquitous whip system, which gives fail-safe protection for the politically and ideologically impotent.”
Ms Creighton said very few politicians want a radical shift from the crony politics of the nod and the wink.
“Our system is rooted on creeping, obsequious advancement and preferment.
“It rewards mediocrity, a commitment not to rock the boat and a supposed “loyalty” to the party above all else. Indeed our abuse of the term ’party loyalty’ would have fitted well in the Soviet Union. Beliefs, values, principles and even loyalty to one’s country are deemed inferior to blind party loyalty.”
Green Party TD Paul Gogarty said Ms Creighton should be applauded for her speech.
“I welcome Lucinda Creighton’s call on her party to give back the golf classic donations from Nama-linked property developers last week,” she said.
“The only problem is that I fear that she may be slamming the stable door long after the horse has bolted.” he said.
“The Green Party is alone among the political parties in never accepting corporate donations.”